This is a tip I’ve been using since the days of writing up my PhD.
Most days I pick one task that “if I didn’t get anything else done for the day (excluding tasks that are directly related to clients e.g. preparing for sessions) I’d be happy with what I achieved”.
My bar for being happy with what I’ve achieved is low.
I pick something that’s on my own agenda rather than something that’s about responding to someone else’s agenda.
The tasks are often things that only take a few minutes.
Here’s an example from this week.
I’d been thinking about and researching some investment decisions for the last few weeks. Yesterday’s key task was to push the button on the decision and complete and mail the related forms. Making a phone call to do a final check on some info, completing the forms and doing the bank transfer took around 30 mins.
Blog posts are a common task of the day because I like it when the task of the day is something that will or has the potential to have future payoffs.
I have my schedule set up so that at least some days a week I can do my task of the day before I start seeing therapy clients because I don’t have much cognitive energy left after client sessions.
Another type of example – emailing, calling, or making a date to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile. i.e. something that is consistent with my valued life directions regarding friendships.
Sometimes task of the day is “get an early night” if I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for too long (i.e. something that is on my own agenda/consistent with the valued life direction of taking care of myself physically)
Do I decide on/complete a task-of-the-day everyday? Hell No. Even setting the bar really low I don’t. But, I’d say I’d get there around 2/3 of the time.
– The skill is in choosing satisfying tasks that are very small.
– Use task-of-the-day as an opposite action technique. Do it when you least feel like it. Sometimes I’ll do a task of the day in the evenings to rescue a day that for some reason has been otherwise frustrating, anxiety provoking, or disappointing.
– Use task of the day to counteract the thought “I’m reacting to the world around me. I can’t chart my own course”. If that thought is operating, do task-of-the-day to act in a way that’s inconsistent with that thought.
– Pick a task-of-the-day that reflects your own agenda rather than someone else’s.